Ferrari is parting ways with its Formula 1 team boss Mattia Binotto after months of speculation. As the Scuderia announced, the racing team has accepted the 53-year-old’s resignation as of 31 December this year.
“I think it is right to take this step at this time, as difficult as this decision has been for me,” Binotto explained. The search for a new Ferrari team principal has long been underway, and he is expected to be announced in the new year.
Rumours about a separation of the Scuderia from Binotto had last circulated around the season finale in Abu Dhabi. Frederic Vasseur is the most likely successor. The Frenchman has been team boss of Sauber, which was later renamed Alfa Romeo, since 2017. The racing team works closely with Ferrari.
Ferrari has accepted Binotto’s resignation and he will step down from his role as team principal on 31 December 2022, according to an official statement released by the Formula One racing team on Tuesday.
Last Friday, the Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera”, which cited information from the team, wrote that a confirmation of the separation was possibly only a matter of hours. In the end, it did not happen that quickly, but the 53-year-old’s departure has now become reality, sources indicate that the divorce actually occurred some 12 months ago.
“…it comes with great regret.”
“I would like to thank Mattia for his many great contributions over the 28 years at Ferrari and in particular for leading the team back to a competitive position last year.
“As a result, we are in a strong position to once again take on the challenge of winning the ultimate prize in motorsport, especially for our fantastic fans around the world,” Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna is quoted as saying in the statement.
“Everyone here at the Scuderia and in the wider Ferrari community wishes Mattia all the best for the future.”
Binotto himself also has his say: “It is with the regret that comes with this that I have decided to end my collaboration with Ferrari. I am leaving a company that I love and have been part of for 28 years, with the serenity that comes from the conviction that I have done everything to achieve the goals set.”
Even though the step is difficult for him, he says it is “the right time”. In conclusion, the Italian-Swiss thanks all the staff “who have shared this journey with me, which has been marked by difficulties but also by great satisfaction”.
Binotto resigned last year
Ferrari approached Andreas Seidl and Christian Horner last winter, with both being the preferred candidate to replace Binotto, but both declined the offer. The understanding between the team and Binotto was, he was to leave so long as Ferrari could replace the team boss with a suitable candidate.
Confronted with the rumours by “ServusTV”, however, the German explained that he did not want to take part in the speculation and that he still had a job to do at McLaren.
In the end, Binotto got one more year due to the failure of securing a successor according to sources within Ferrari. With Vasseur set to move into Binotto’s position, the resignation has finally been actioned.
Binotto joined the Scuderia back in 1995 and served Michael Schumacher as engine engineer during his Ferrari era. The Swiss later rose to the position of technical director before replacing Maurizio Arrivabene as team boss in early 2019 after a power struggle.
Ferrari success has been missing for some time, with Kimi Raikkonen winning the drivers’ title, and the constructors’ championship for the last time in 2008. Even four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was unable to lead the Scuderia all the way to the top during his time from 2015 to 2020.
Last season, Charles Leclerc finished second in the championship behind Max Verstappen in the Red Bull. The Monegasque was even 46 points ahead of the Dutchman after three races. However, driving errors, strategy missteps and technical problems subsequently cost him an even better result.